Man who fatally shot 2 in fight outside Bucks County bar acted in self-defense, DA says

Prosecutors in Bucks County ruled that a man acted in self-defense when he fatally shot two men and injured another while being assaulted in the parking lot of a local bar. 

According to investigators, Liam Hughes and a friend were walking to their car in the parking lot of Steam Pub in Southampton Township on Oct. 7 when he was attacked by three men. 

The combatants reportedly punched Hughes in the face and knocked him to the ground where police say they continue the beating. Hughes, according to police, tried to get into his vehicle, but he was "actively pulled out by one of the attackers."

During the fight, investigators say Hughes reached into his car and grabbed a gun stored in the space between the driver's seat and center console. It's said that Hughes told his attackers that he had a gun and urged them to stop, but when they did not Hughes opened fire. 


Steven Panebianco, 30, and Raymond Farrell, 28, were killed in the shooting, according to authorities. A third man, later identified as 24-year-old Richard Bowman, was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. 

Investigators said Hughes, an Army reservist for the past 3.5 years, held a valid concealed weapons permit and legally purchased the gun. Hughes called 911 himself and fully cooperated with officers from the Lower Southampton Police Department, according to prosecutors. 

Medical records showed that Hughes’ injuries included acute post-traumatic headache, a concussion, left ear contusion, a split lip, bloody nose, and bruises and scrapes to his left inner ear, forehead, head, and scalp. Doctors found dried blood in his left ear canal upon examination. He also suffered blurry vision, sensitivity to light and nausea.

Following an investigation, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub announced that the use of deadly force by Hughes was justified. The DA's Office said the circumstances were such that Hughes "reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to protect himself against death or serious bodily injury."

During a news conference to announce the findings of the investigation, District Attorney Weintraub played surveillance footage that captured the assault and shooting, and the 911 call that Hughes placed after the shooting.

Michael Michell, who is also accused of striking Hughes at least four times in the head, was charged with second degree simple assault.